Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli's name has been put forward again this year for prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award. Weightlifter, Saikhom Mirabai Chanu and shuttler Kidambi Srikanth’s names also came up for the same. However, Srikanth’s recommendation is still seeking the approval of the Sports Ministry’s approval by Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore. Post the recommendation get verified, President Ram Nath Kovind will present the awards on September 25 at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.
Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra has been selected for the Arjuna Awards. Sprinters Hima Das, Jinson Johnson, cricketer Smriti Mandhana, hockey players Manpreet Singh and Savita Punia, Manika Batra and Rohan Bopanna have also been recommended for the Arjuna Awards. Here are the full names who are endorsed:
Neeraj Chopra (Athletics), Jinson Johnson (Athletics), Hima Das (Athletics), N Sikki Reddy (Badminton), Satish Kumar (Boxing), Smriti Mandhana (Cricket), Shubhankar Sharma (Golf), Manpreet Singh (Hockey), Savita (Hockey), Ravi Rathore (Polo), Rahi Sarnobat (Shooting), Ankur Mittal (Shooting), Shreyasi Singh (Shooting), Manika Batra (Table Tennis), G Sathiyan (Table Tennis), Rohan Bopanna (Tennis).
If Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore approved the list then Virat Kohli will become the third Indian cricketer to achieve this after Sachin Tendulkar (1997) and MS Dhoni (2007).
Also, last year in World Championships Weightlifter Chanu impressed everyone with her fabulous performance where she won the gold medal in the 48kg category. Grabbed the yellow metal in this year’s Commonwealth Games but can't perform in the Asian Games 20118 because of her injury. She will follow the footstep of Karnam Malleswari (1995-Weightlifting) and Nameirakpam Kunjarani (Weightlifting-1996) if won the Khel Ratna Award and become the third weightlifter who won this pride.
The BCCI has been nominating Kohli for straight 3 years but in 2016, it was given to Sakshi Malik, PV Sindhu and Deepa Karmakar for their outstanding performance at the Rio Olympic Games. Last year, the Khel Ratna was awarded to former India hockey captain Sardar Singh and para-athlete Devendra Jhajharia. A close source told PTI on anonymity condition, "Yes, Virat Kohli and Mirabai Chanu’s names have been recommended by the awards committee".